In NEWS, RACE REPORTS, RUMORS & QUOTES, Senza categoria, TEAM TALKS, Uncategorized

Wilkommen in Berlin!

Time for Formula E’s annual visit to the wide and abrasive concrete ways of the former airport, consisting of two and a half straights that are not actually straight, and a bunch of slow corners. 

With four rounds left, we are yet to see a spread in the standings!
Jean-Eric Vergne is leading by the narrowest of margins his teammate André Lotterer. DS Techeetah pair gathers points quite differently – JEV finishes strongly half of his races, while André almost always gets a top six, though the win is still eluding him – the only driver in top seven without such. The rest in the top five – Frijns, da Costa and di Grassi, are as inconsistent as the leader, but less fortunate too.

Qualifying did what it could to mess up with the championship protagonists – apart from the starting 3rd  Lucas di Grassi! The Chinese cheetahs are 9th(JEV) and last (LOT), da Costa – 8th, and Frijns – 21st! Seb Buemi got the pole – hopefully a good start to pick up the pieces of whatever’s left of his championship campaign. The HWAs were impressive with 2ndand 4thfor Stoffel and Gary Paffett. They’ve proven to have a hard time in the race, though… 

After a minute of silence to commemorate the great late Niki Lauda (we would love to have more straight shooters in the sport, and in life), we’re ready to start racing!

START!!!

For the author’s surprise, everyone behaves in the never-ending first corner, and generally – through the inaugural lap. Some passes in the mid to lower positions, but top six remains the same – BUE, VAN, DIG, PAF, LYN and home hero ABT. Lotterer starts his march towards the front, passing left, right and center, as if he’s with a Gen3 car! Keep the aggression under control, mate! Lucas’s pressure on Stoffel comes into fruition in lap three – he puts the Audi to the inside for second place! Now the iconic duel di Grassi-Buemi can begin. Paffett is fed to the wall by Alex Lynn, and though managed to remain in the race, lost three places overall – HWAs start dropping down the order… 

Turn 6 proves to be the biggest passing opportunity in Tempelhof, especially for Lucas, who has found a universal way to pass there – in this case for the lead in lap six! Can he put some distance to Buemi? On the next lap he’s half a second faster than the Frenchman, closely followed by Stoffel Vandoorne, who’s leading a train of Gen2s. Alex Lynn manages to pass him for a corner, but then the Belgian forcefully returns his position, with the opportunistic Danniel Abt and Alex Lynn following in suite; the Belgian-train continues… JEV manages to move infront of the struggling HWA of Paffett for seventh in lap 12 attempting a decent points finish. He has some distance to sixth place da Costa, though. Leader di Grassi seems to control the gap to Buemi at one second, probably in fear of a safety car…

Attack Mode zone is placed quite well this time – outside of the wide turn 6. Taking it leads to losing some time in the turn itself, though with precise planning, the effect can be negated on the straight that follows. Vergne proves this right, as he loses the place to Paffett during activation, but takes it right back on the next turn with the 25 kW more on his disposal – Techeetah thought they have a safe gap to the Britton, but were proved wrong. Fortunately their driver is able to make up for the miscalculation.

Pascal Wehrlein wasn’t mentioned up to now – probably for the first time this season. Started 10th, and didn’t do better in the race itself…

Twenty mins in, and Sam Bird finally manages to attract the cameras, doing a pass from the outside in the 270° turn 1 for twelfth! Lotterer seems stuck in 14th– not much progress after the frantic first lap in his home race…

Finally we get a pass for the top spots, as attackmoding (can we make this a word?) da Costa does Buemi in T6, while the Swissman quickly decides to take the opportunity and activate it himself, together with the man behind – Vandoorne. For few seconds we have all in top six but the leader using the additional juice, before the now secondly-placed Portuguese runs out of it. Now or never for Buemi and Vandoorne to pass him and try to close the gap to the leading di Grassi!

Fan Boost looks as relevant as it can get, as it will boost the hopes of second to fifth for going up (DAC, BUE, VAN and ABT; Massa got it too, but he’s 20th).

Battle for tenth erupts with Bird doing his thing in turn one (this time to Paffet), and the seven or eight cars behind start to run in two by two formation, forgetting they’re not in Indycar!

Just as the broadcasters show the championship standings as of lap 23 (di Grassi taking the lead with 2 points over JEV), the Frenchman seemingly sees this on the big screens, goes crazy and passes Alex Lynn, Daniel Abt and Stoffel Vandoorne for fourth (he almost got Antonio Felix for position on the podium)! Somewhere during this Swiss symphony, Seb Buemi shows everyone how a Fan boost should be used, and passes da Costa for second in turn one!

Fifteen minutes before finish Alex Lynn’s rear axle decides to behave as its rick singer-namesake, and messes up. He stops at the beginning of the start-finish straight and brings out a full course yellow. Next lap around second to fifth (BUE, DAC, VER and VAN) activates their last Attack Mode, hoping not to waste too much time revolving at 50 kph. Lucas plays them, doing the same a lap later, just before the Full Course Yellow ended, and the guys after him had ten to fifteen seconds of AM left…

As could be expected, the leader makes good use of his lately activated boost, and leaves Buemi, da Costa and Vergne to squabble over second place. 

André Lotterer gets into the pits with a battery issue, from eleventh! Shame! Not long after, JEV passes the BMW for third!

Three minutes (plus a lap) before finish, di Grassi leads with 3 seconds over Buemi, and JEV follows in third, less than a second behind and a little more in the tank… sorry – battery.

Last lap brings ahalf-hearted overtaking attempt by Jean-Eric Vergne towards the Frenchman In second…

FINISH!!!

Lucas di Grass’s race domination should have a +18 sign! Runner-up Sebastien Buemi parks the Nissan on the awesome elevated structure of the podium, with Jean-Eric Vergne getting 3rdin one of his best races! It is too cold for a Brazilian striptease, but it’s all right…

The curtain falls…

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